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For NINJA SCROLL, VAMPIRE HUNTER D, Yoshiaki Kawajiri & Under-Rated "Japanimation" - - OTAKU COMING HOME

While Nick is busy visiting every Maid-cafe in Japan, close pal and colleague Alex Eckman-Lawn steps in to shed some light on one of anime’s darkest directors and under-appreciated eras.

Previously on OTAKU COMING HOME...

What’s up Anime Vice readers! My name is Alex Eckman-Lawn, and I’ll be filling in for Nick for the next month while he’s off, appropriately enough, in great Nippon. The more observant of you may remember me from the Do's & Dont's of Anime Cons segment last week. I’m a comic artist, illustrator and Nick’s bearded partner-in-crime on AWAKENING, among other comics.

(I'm also his life partner, but don’t tell his wife.)

What part of that qualifies me to talk about anime? Well, I’ve been a fan since I was nine, when I got immediately hooked by an almost incomprehensible, severely-edited cut of VAMPIRE HUNTER D on Cartoon Network. I went to my first Otakon in ’96 (and I’ve got the badge to prove it) and learned a lot of what I know about comics by studying manga. I even did “master copies” of RANMA ½ pages when I was in middle school (luckily I do not have any scans…they’re not pretty).

I think the Japanese influence is still present and noticeable in my art, but not in that “I learned everything I know from tracing EVANGELION box art” way…

Some of my work with a not-so-subtle Japanese influence.
Some of my work with a not-so-subtle Japanese influence.

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite directors, Yoshiaki Kawajiri; a man whom most of you probably, and unfortunately, know as the guy who directed the 86 minutes of hot garbage called HIGHLANDER: THE SEARCH FOR VENGEANCE. It may be hard to believe for those of you who sat through that mess, but there was a time when Kawajiri was making some really weird, experimental and visually-exciting stuff, and doing it in a slick and stylish way that no one else could really touch. This guy was the king of the “Not for Kids!” era of anime in America.

I should say that, unlike Nick, I'm coming at anime from a visual artist’s standpoint. I’m one of those guys who can’t read a comic or watch a cartoon if I think the art is bad - - no matter how great the story might be. However, I am totally willing to sit through a bad movie or read through an aimless book if it looks nice.

Point being, a lot of Kawajiri’s work tends to focus on the visual side of things. The stories he tells tend to be of the “hard boiled” nature, and at their worst, exist purely to set the table for a visual feast.

These are just dripping with that awesome 80's stank.
These are just dripping with that awesome 80's stank.

Which brings me to NINJA SCROLL. This was my introduction to Kawajiri and it’s a damn good one. You can argue whether or not this is his best movie, but there’s no denying how visually-striking and smartly-realized the film is. From the very first scene, it’s clear that Kawajiri is paying a lot of attention to the visual statement of the movie: marrying his affection for noir with classic samurai stories and the flat, bold, color and careful asymmetrical composition of Japanese woodblock prints.

So many well-composed shots in this movie! Love all the black.
So many well-composed shots in this movie! Love all the black.

This film is also full of likeable characters, a wide array of beautiful settings and eight absurd bad guys, each with his own unique and memorable design. That includes an ugly midget with a wasps' nest for a back, a stitched-up woman full of gunpowder and an enormous, murderous, rapist who can turn his skin to stone.

This shit is bananas in the best way possible, and there isn’t an ugly frame in the entire movie. I’m proud to say this was my favorite movie when I was about 13, and it played a big part in me wanting to take art seriously as a profession.

A lit brighter and more colorful than some of his earlier stuff.
A lit brighter and more colorful than some of his earlier stuff.

But NINJA SCROLL is just the tip of the iceberg! The farther back you go into this guy’s career the nuttier things get.

I remember seeing DEMON CITY SHINJUKU on the short-lived “Saturday Night Anime” on the Sci-Fi channel (before all this SyFy nonsense), renting CYBER CITY OEDO 808 from my local Blockbuster, stumbling across his epic short "the Running Man" (which aired on MTV for some reason), buying fansubs of BIRDY THE MIGHTY.... and just devouring all of it.

This stuff defined that dangerous, gritty, and dark style of anime that piqued my curiosity way back when I was nine.

Bloodlust!
Bloodlust!

You can imagine how psyched I was when I heard Kawajiri would be the director of VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST. The sequel to the movie that started it all for me, directed by the man responsible for bristling my neck hairs since that first fateful night.

BLOODLUST is possibly not a triumph of cinema, but it is a gorgeous movie and absolutely memorable for that. Sure, the story is a little stupid, and the pacing is inconsistent but - - let’s be honest - - the original D has its fair share of problems as well.

You've come a long way, D.
You've come a long way, D.

Sadly, BLOODLUST marks the end of an era for me. It’s one of the last really beautiful, traditionally-animated anime movies with a budget big enough to support the ambition of the project. It’s also likely to be the last Kawajiri movie I'll really like. Not just because he seems to work only on American funded tie-in projects like the ANIMATRIX and HIGHLANDER lately, but also because the dirty, violent, dark and gritty days of 80’s and early 90’s “Japanimation” are over.

Anime is a very different industry, now, and I’m not sure if there’s a place for directors like Kawajiri. And that’s a real shame.

Never again!
Never again!

Now, there’s a lot of talk lately about those “Japanimation” days being something like the dark ages, or the humble beginnings from which a beautiful and elegant fandom has since sprung...

I’d like to officially call bullshit on that sentiment here and now.

Anime in the 90’s was something new and exciting - - dangerous, even! You had to call around, go to seedy video rental places, buy fansubs from scumbags who overcharged you, or slink through dark and unsavory arcades, Asian groceries and run-down bookstores to find what you were after. Sure, the polish was missing in a lot of releases, but most of the crazy OVA's and one-offs coming out of that era did something that I see far too rarely these days. They took risks!

This is exactly what it looks like. A woman with handlebars screaming a laser and who will KILL YOU with his glasses.
This is exactly what it looks like. A woman with handlebars screaming a laser and who will KILL YOU with his glasses.

Part of what I liked about anime back then was that I never knew what I was in for. Sure, that meant I ran into some crap (I’ll never forget buying M.D. GEIST based on box art, and the disappointment that would follow), but every tape was still bursting with potential and enthusiasm. For every JUDGE, there was a RIDING BEAN, or GOKU MIDNIGHT EYE to wash the bad taste from my mouth.

American fans got to see directors at their most daring and experimental. I think I saw TOTORO on the same weekend as ROBOT CARNIVAL. Both are great movies for very different reasons, but TOTORO is about a 0% risk. For one, you can still market it to kids. Hell, slap some ugly cover art on the box and no one even needs to know it’s Japanese!

The Fox Video box art for TOTORO. Yikes.
The Fox Video box art for TOTORO. Yikes.

Shows like BLEACH, and especially INUYASHA are so completely by-the-numbers and without risk, in both story and visuals, that I become immediately bored. INUYASHA even sticks so slavishly to Takahashi’s established moneymaking formula that it feels like her past characters are just playing dress-up in a new series. I can feel her disinterest with what she’s making, and that’s absolutely contagious to me as a viewer.

Kawajiri and his Japanimation-era brethren never let me down in this regard. I still remember the first time I saw AKIRA, BUBBLEGUM CRISIS, DEVILMAN, PATLABOR and yes, NINJA SCROLL. Those were unlike anything I’d seen before, and they challenged me. When was the last time you saw an anime or manga that totally surprised you? Something really risky or unexpected? Something that wasn’t overtly catering to a fanbase that’s sure to eat it up, regardless of the quality?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the work of more high-minded, subtle directors like Oshii, Kon and Miyazaki, but sometimes you just want a movie with style, grit and balls, man. If you decide you’d like a break from listening to the cast of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST whine about their dead mom (I know I would), and enjoy some really well-animated and well-realized madness instead, then there’s no better era to pick from than the late 80’s and early 90’s.

And there's no better director to turn to than Yoshiaki Kawajiri. On any given day I’d rather watch DEMON CITY SHINUKU than PONYO and I’m sure if you think about it, so would you.

Alex Eckman-Lawn is an illustrator and comic artists from Philadelphia. Check out his site - - alexeckmanlawn.com - - rumble with his Tumblr - - dudenukem.tumblr.com - - and hit up his Twitter: @alexeckmanlawn

Om1kronon Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:14 p.m.

fuck yes!!! before there was tenacious d, there was the one and true d... the vampire hunter

NickTapalansky staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 6:37 a.m.

If you decide you’d like a break from listening to the cast of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST whine about their dead mom (I know I would)

You have made an enemy this day.

I will haunt you from beneath your bed. And replace everything in your refrigerator with olive loaf.

AlexEL staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 7:41 a.m.

ha! couldn't agree more. I watched the original D so many times that the tape got all warped and warbly.

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 24, 2012 at 7:45 a.m.

This was a pretty cool read as it seemed like it was going to be focused on the artistic and visual merits of anime, something I'm extremely interested in, specifically 80s and 90s anime. Unfortunately I found myself completely turned off when it turned into a nostalgia rant.

We get it grandpa. Everything new sucks and everything from when you were a kid is the most bestest more awesomer thing ever.

AlexEL staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 8:10 a.m.

I knew i'd get some of these. sorry, sickvisionz, but i truly believe that some of the best Anime FEATURES were made in the 80s and 90s, thanks in no small part to the economic boom Japan was experiencing at the time. I definitely do not hate all new anime, but there is an awful lot of it that bores me to tears.

NickTapalansky staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.

@sickVisionz: @AlexEL:

Joking aside, I agree with most of what is saying here. He's just way more direct about it than I am, haha! And I think it applies both to features AND television series.

Truth be told, if you look at my first article again, you'll see it was just the sort of thing he cites here that pushed me away from anime for YEARS. I got tired of things that were watered down versions of what I'd loved.

He's not saying there aren't good, new shows and movies out there, but that there are far fewer of them that are as daring in subject/tone or as beautifully animated as what was coming out in the 80's and 90's, and he's right. Just because we like something doesn't mean it's challenging us or showing us something new. In fact, we tend to like things better if they're familiar. It's just the way you humans we work.

I think FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is an amazing story, but it's not presenting anything new. It's taking familiar pieces (in adventure/fantasy fiction) and rearranging them in a way that's relatable. It thrives on character rather than innovation. There's nothing wrong with that approach. I happen to love it, both as a viewer and a storyteller, but it isn't challenging me to think about it. It's challenging me to care.

Done right, it works. Done wrong, you get INUYASHA.

But riddle me this - who out there has an example (post-2000) that might prove an exception?

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 24, 2012 at 9:53 a.m.

@NickTapalansky said:

But riddle me this - who out there has an example (post-2000) that might prove an exception?

You want examples of something that is "daring in subject/tone or as beautifully animated as what was coming out in the 80's and 90's"...

BLOODLUST is possibly not a triumph of cinema, but it is a gorgeous movie and absolutely memorable for that. Sure, the story is a little stupid, and the pacing is inconsistent

or content that has numerous failings in pretty much everything but visuals?

Redline has a pretty silly story and you'd be hard pressed to say it wasn't beautifully animated. Bleach: Hell Chapter fits in perfectly with bad everything but visuals as well. The Evangelion remakes have beautiful visuals and the story isn't crap, one-upping most of the content being praised. Dead Leaves is a beautiful acid trip that's pretty unique. While the animation isn't as fluid as a feature film (as practically nothing, regardless of era , is) Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Welcome to Irabu's office have an art style and approach that is unlike pretty much any anime before it. I'd put Kaiba in the same boat as well.

I just disagree with the notion that modern stuff is worse, it's all the same, nobody is taking risks, etc, etc, ad nauseum etc. The main reason is, how much content were you guys exposed to and had access to back then? 20 years of anime compressed into maybe 50-100 cherry picked bits of content when there were probably over 1,500 (assuming a total of at least 20 series, movies, and ovas were made per season) bits of content produced? I wonder if you all would still feel like it was the best ever if like today, you had access to everything rather than only the best of the best and craziest of the crazy making it's way over with you not knowing everything else even existed?

NickTapalansky staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.

@sickVisionz said:

I wonder if you all would still feel like it was the best ever if like today, you had access to everything rather than only the best of the best and craziest of the crazy making it's way over with you not knowing everything else even existed?

Now here's an interesting concept. One of the things that drove me away from anime was the fact that, suddenly, it wasn't a niche thing.

I don't mean that in the hipster "I liked it before it was cool" sense, but rather the fact that being able to access so much of it, so easily, made it clear that it wasn't anime as a form that was so great but, rather, specific films and shows, just like any other form of entertainment. At the time there was nothing of interest to me, so I quit looking for it.

More to the immediate point, Alex says above, and I'll echo it, that there were plenty of disappointments mixed in with the amazing stuff that made it over here. It's not that everything from the 80's/90's were great - not by a long shot. Alex points out M.D. GEIST and JUDGE, and I'll add DEVIL HUNTER YOHKO and PROJECT A-KO for good measure, though there were tons of others. But over here it was a smaller pond and, therefore, filled with bigger fish. We got our share of the crap, but there was less of everything which made the gems stand out. Plus, directors like Kawajiri are a rare breed - that he happened to be working during that era may or may not be a moot point.

said:

Those were unlike anything I’d seen before, and they challenged me. When was the last time you saw an anime or manga that totally surprised you? Something really risky or unexpected? Something that wasn’t overtly catering to a fanbase that’s sure to eat it up, regardless of the quality?

and

Don’t get me wrong, I love the work of more high-minded, subtle directors like Oshii, Kon and Miyazaki, but sometimes you just want a movie with style, grit and balls, man.

AND

enjoy some really well-animated and well-realized madness instead, then there’s no better era to pick from than the late 80’s and early 90’s.

In other words, there was a certain style that was prevalent then that, for various reasons, isn't anymore. He's highlighting a bygone era that offered something far different to us, by majority at the time, than what we see today, both in style and substance. It's no different than him preferring a different era of music. Just because there may be some good tunes you like today doesn't mean they have the same sound as those Alex remembers so fondly, even if from a production quality perspective they're close to or on the same level.

Maybe it's better to say that the domestic scene in the 80's and 90's appeared more daring, bold, and beautiful by comparison to today by virtue of the volume of titles for comparison. I can settle on that, even if Alex may feel otherwise. But there's no arguing that Kawajiri was pretty out of his mind, the work he directed was beautiful and twisted, and that few directors have done much like him since the turn of the century, with regard to style and attitude.

With the shift toward computer-aided animation and focusing on a global market, it'll probably become rarer still to find artists willing to put themselves so far outside the norm to express themselves. And it'll be incredibly difficult for those creators to gain the kind of recognition Kawajiri enjoyed, since they'll be drowned out by sea of safe, mediocre content. It's the same in any creative industry - the more popular a subject, genre, or medium gets, the harder it is to express yourself as an individual and still get paid.

There's probably a whole separate OTAKU COMING HOME in discussing the merits of not having access to everything that comes out each season (and, of course, the pros). Here we have a negative - I have no doubt that some, if not all, of your suggestions might be amazing and in the spirit of the types of films we're talking about, and I look forward to checking some of 'em out, but they get buried under the repetitive, monotonous, and poorly animated shows that clog up every streaming service and the blu-ray section at the store.

AlexEL staff on Oct. 24, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.

@sickVisionz:

Nick addressed a lot of your points very elegantly, but i'd like to talk about some of your examples of great looking new stuff. I'll save my opinion on the Eva remakes for another day...

Redline has a pretty silly story and you'd be hard pressed to say it wasn't beautifully animated. Bleach: Hell Chapter fits in perfectly with bad everything but visuals as well. The Evangelion remakes have beautiful visuals and the story isn't crap, one-upping most of the content being praised. Dead Leaves is a beautiful acid trip that's pretty unique. While the animation isn't as fluid as a feature film (as practically nothing, regardless of era , is) Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Welcome to Irabu's office have an art style and approach that is unlike pretty much any anime before it. I'd put Kaiba in the same boat as well.

I absolutely accept Dead Leaves as an example! Same goes for Redline. It's funny you mention kaiba since that style is absolutely a throwback to the 50's and 60's Tezuka style. I think it looks interesting and i like that, but definitely not unlike anything i've seen before. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has a cool look but it's barely animated. I'm not saying japan is incapable of making anything good anymore, i just find less that grips me. These are cool but they dont drop my jaw the way Akira, or Ninja Scroll did and still do!

I haven't seen Welcome to Irabu's Office but i'd definitely like to check it out. Thanks for that one.

Part of my beef with some newer Anime is that i prefer traditional cel animation, and i think a lot of animators are using the computer to cut corners these days (this coming from a man who uses photoshop in every piece of art he makes). For example, most if not every vehicle in Ghost in the Shell SAC is done with a computer and looks totally stiff and awkward as a result. Not so much the Tachikoma, but the cars for sure. There's an interview out there wherein Oshii talks about Sky Crawlers, saying he had to turn to the computer to animate the planes because no one knows how to do this stuff by hand anymore. I think thats a big bummer, personally.

Of course there are some great actually well written films from that era as well, though that wasn't the focus of this article. Wings of Honneamise is one of the more obvious choices.

Om1kronon Oct. 25, 2012 at 3:42 a.m.

This really turned into a very tight butthole hommage to ninja scroll and vampire hunter double d's to an up in arms loose butthole argument about which is better and yada ya.

I love animation period, the shit fascinates me. Good story, bad story. I'm 32 years old and I fucking LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE cartoons. You ask me if I'm watching american swill on TV, the office, seinfeld, etc. I couldn't tell you jack about those damn shows. You ask me about some anime then I may have some recommendations.

As far as new vs old, technology and production costs, manpower required to churn anime out now vs any traditional animation in the past has greatly shifted. Titmouse animation studio in California for instance is a sure sign of being able to produce animation with little manpower and even creating new technology to streamline animating things so it's easy enough a caveman could step in and animate a show.

You can't but be impressed with all of those anime's from the 80's and 90's and some of the stuff people hand drew back then. If you've ever taken the time to draw a thumbnail animation book you could only imagine the work that went into doing that cell by cell, individually painting the cells, the backgrounds, and all of the photography work required to create the animation sequence. Totally mind blowing stuff, regardless good or bad like I said the sheer manpower that went into animating 90 minutes of anything in those days is enjoyable enough to me. I can respect that!

Do I have any less respect or desire to watch the new stuff because of their story's or concepts? no not at all.

I think I got the point of this article, while a lot of you guys didn't and got all up in arms. But then again I'm not a life dedicated otaku or anything. I'm just some computer nerd who likes to draw and is impressed with the hard work people put into things. And for the record I like Inuyasha!!!

I couldn't tell you shit about the story or how awesome it is or not. But I still think it's cool! I'm also pretty sure if I tried to sit down and watch 8man now as opposed to me trying to watch anything manga.com would put on vhs back in those days. I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as I do modern animation now!

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 25, 2012 at 6:40 a.m.

@Om1kron: We've got to get over this idea that because computers are used, people aren't drawing, no skill is used, and every one is lazy. Off rip, pretty much every anime today is still hand drawn so that argument is totally bunk on a factual level.

It rubs me the wrong way when people suggest that because there was a CG car at some point in a series and because computers are used to color things, scenes like the ones are poorly animated, are animators not trying, being lazy, or could be done by a caveman because the computer is auto-drawing everything. It comes off as ignorance or reality denial every time I see it.

shelson Oct. 25, 2012 at 7:55 a.m.

The only Studio,that i've been aware, still using some hand-drawing (this is, not using just tablets and such for hand drawing exclusively) is Studio Ghibli but even so like the rest of the bunch they use CG for drawing and post-production, heck Princess Mononoke was one of the first Full-lenght films to combine both techniques.

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.

@shels: drawing by hand on a tablet is still drawing by hand. Rather than a pencil they use a stylus. Rather than paper they use a tablet. I don't understand the claim that it isn't drawn by hand when the artist are literally and legitimately drawing by hand.

Like the idea that when this scene was made, nobody drew anything. They loaded up the "Lust" and "Mustang" presets on their computers and the characters appeared just as they are. They then made the menu choice of Line Style -> Hand-Drawn->Kinda Squiggly and the scene pretty much animated itself from there on out with no need to draw anything. All they had to do was select "Fire" from an element drop down and 3D physics auto added burns, generated wind, and made hair and clothes flap appropriately. They set the auto camera to "Epic" and boom, all they had to do was throw audio under it and the scene was complete.

When people say anime isn't hand drawn anymore, I get the impression that they think the above paragraph is how it's done these days.

AlexEL staff on Oct. 25, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.

@sickVisionz: I do indeed consider tablet drawn animation in the "by hand" category, but it IS a different process from cel animation. I happen to love the look of the old process, with all its qualities and shortcomings. But is right, Ghibli is the last studio INSISTING that their teams use traditional techniques. i've heard Miyazaki can be kind of an asshole about that stuff, in fact.

That video you posted has a ton of REALLY nice animation in it, as well as some pretty bland stuff that moves a lot. I happen to like things with a bit more grit and grime on'em but judging those clips purely in terms of animation, they were excellent to be sure. Ever since FLCL(which i do happen to love) the prevailing style in anime seems to be the simplified, flat character design, with an exaggerated squash and stretch animation style. Much the way lots of studios in the japanimation days were up on Akira's dick. My point remains that there are some awesome qualities of the old days that you just can't find in today's stuff.

shelson Oct. 25, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.

I'm not claiming it's not drawn by hand, but you can possibly compare the process of doing each hand-draw cell one-by-one individually to the simple process of having a key animator draw in his computer with all the resources/effects that photoshop and the likes, offers, It's just not the same thing. Not to mention the work after, when the animation supervisor has to check each frame to match styles, when in a computer there are processes to simulate in-between frames to facilitate the job.

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 25, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.

@shels: Old school shows had key animators as well and modern shows still use in betweeners and animation supervisors. These positions are so prevalent that I'd challenge you to find even one series that doesn't use them. The only time you might not see them is on a high profile episode where the studio has called in one of their big shots and given them free reign to do as they please and and to handle an entire scene on their own. On those ones, you might not have inbetweeners because the big shot is doing it all on their own. You might not have supervisors because the studio wants all of the idiosyncrasies that they bring to the table and they want it to stand out rather than be homogenous. That's not the norm though.

Most of the changes you've imagined taking place are just that: imagined.

Om1kronon Oct. 25, 2012 at 5:43 p.m.
@sickVisionz said:

@Om1kron: We've got to get over this idea that because computers are used, people aren't drawing, no skill is used, and every one is lazy. 

I think you missed the point I made again because you guys are so wound up over this, you're kind of preaching to the wrong guy about it anyway...  
 
  
   
I was simply stating that the technology available today is making it possible for people who don't really have a lot of natural ability themselves to learn without the fear of mistakes. I see tons of people putting together animation and learning motion with the availability of these tools and then being able to zbrush a plane or something to get the dimensions right and then just skew it the way they want. Which yes you drew that, you did the work, you're a technical person with computer programs but if I asked the same type of person to draw an airplaine or a car and then try to do it in an escher perspective passing by a fisheye lense. Most people would not have the ability to do that.  
 
Really it's not even fucking important, like I originally said if someone draws it, I appreciate the work that went into it and it fascinates me. It's you guys who have your different level of nerd or hipster that doesn't appreciate animation PERIOD. I've done animation traditionally before since I never had those tools available to me and have done an art apprenticeship through disney back in high school. It took forever to do a minute or two of animation and then load it up into premiere, then to add music and lets not even talk about rendering times.  
 
To imagine the tools available to someone at a studio level was just mind boggling to me. So I have an opinion from both sides of the fence. I don't prefer one or the other. I just am impressed at the fact that there were so many people who were talented "traditionally" back then that did it.  
 
That's it.  
 
Just thinking of animating an episode of transformers makes me cringe. 
shelson Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:32 a.m.

@sickVisionz said:

@shels: Old school shows had key animators as well and modern shows still use in betweeners and animation supervisors.

I think you still don't get the point, i well aware that shows use Key animators in-betweeners and Supervisors now and then, I just stated that you can compare an analogic process with the digital one. The roles and people involved in the animation are practically the same the process and tools are the one that have been changing.

I work with animation, i know how the methods are much more easy and cost effective now than when i used to hand draw everything on paper.

zaldaron Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.

Yeah...I'm a story person so sorry I would have to agree and I would call ponyo rather risky in the way it portrays a tsunami as a GOOD thing. The ones you mention are really to full of violence and sex for me as well.

For modern shows that take chances have you seen Madoka? Really I think we were just not getting the amount of material in the 90's that we are now. The great stuff is still out there but we are just getting more of the crap now.

mangaukon Oct. 28, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.

So excited about the new Ninja Scroll release!

http://www.mangauk.com/podcasts.php

Dig Deeper into Ninja Scroll

Jubei must kill the Devils of Kimon to get the gold and one of the devils he has already killed before.

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...but it's sooooo self-serious!

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE : STARDUST CRUSADERS #20 -- Special Review

Eat poo... and die?

Pick Anime Vice's Most Rockin' AMV! Part 3: Villains!

This month's AMV Tournament features villains! Submit your best Villain themed AMV!

Anime Caption Contest! -- 8/18/14

Let's party hard at the beach while it's still summer!

Was KILL LA KILL Actually Any Good?

THE VICE PIT. With a few months of hindsight, Sam and Tom have very different takes on Trigger's bold series.

Does Anime Get Too 'Niche?'

THE VICE PIT. Sometimes, it feels like watching somebody else's home movies, doesn't it?

I'm Trying Really Hard to Like ALDNOAH ZERO #2

...but it's sooooo self-serious!

NARUTO Ch. 688 Review

No reason to be tense when you're working with a safety net.

Community Spotlight 8/15/2014

While many were preparing for the first week of the new school year, these users were deep into this week in anime.

What's the Appeal of GODZILLA Exactly?

After decades of kaiju calamity, why is Sam so jazzed about the announcement of GODZILLA 2 at Comic Con?

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